Linsdell to race FTR Moto2 bike in Senior TT

By MCN Sports Desk -

TT & road races

 25 February 2010 10:57

Olie Linsdell and Buckingham-based FTR Moto have joined forces to race in this year’s Senior TT.

The Senior TT regulations, though dominated by superbike and superstock 1000cc machinery, have a clause that says, ‘other machines admitted at the discretion of the organisers.

So when Linsdell sets off down Bray Hill in the six-lap race, it will be the first time that a current modern four-stroke GP bike has raced on the 37.73 mile Mountain course.

MCN sat down with Olie and talked over his reasoning behind racing the FTR – especially as he also has a Yamaha superbike at his disposal – and his other racing plans…..

Spectators are crying out for variety
My Dad (Steve) is well known for racing different types of bike at the TT (he raced hub-centre steered Yamaha GTS100-based bikes for several years - and a Paton 500GP two-stroke in the 2007 Senior) and this will provide me a step on the ladder.

Hopefully this (Moto2 machine) will be the future of the TT so it means I get a chance to ride this type of bike on the course a year before anyone else.

It also gives the TT people a chance to view this as a future class – and it gives FTR an opportunity to develop their bike on a circuit that’s not just billiard-table smooth.

Experience of different bikes counts for so much
I look at someone like Ian Lougher and see how much experience he has. That’s come from riding all different bikes in all different classes.

There will be things you learn, on say a 125, that will transfer across to a bigger bike. I’m lucky to have raced a lot of different bikes (so early in my career). In 2007 I did classic racing as well as the Triumph Speed Triple Challenge.

Classic racing is not easy. Lee Gourlay is one of the hardest riders I’ve ever raced against.

Racing those sort of bikes also teaches you a lot about bike set-up. I did the R6 Cup in 2006 and we didn’t have enough funding to continue.

That forced us to rethink and do different things.  I’m glad I did.

My plan this year is to focus on the three major international road races
The TT of course is my priority but I’m also planning to do the majority of the Irish Nationals too.

I had planned to do that last year but my TT crash ruled that out. I need to try and finish what we started.

There’s such a different atmosphere at road races than you get in BSB
Everyone is much more relaxed and friendly. It’s like the organisers actually want you there too. You get start money – and the tyre bills are not astronomical.

That’s why there’s more and more ex-BSB riders doing the roads. BSB priced us out of British championship racing.

The TT is going from strength to strength
That’s largely down to Paul Phillips (TT Motorsport and Development Manager)  raising the profile of the event.

The current TT authorities know what people want and realise it takes years to develop.

We’re running our own Flitwick Motorcycles race team
We build our own bikes. Things looked a bit bleak on the sponsorship front at one stage but it’s all picked up now.

So we’ve a new R6 to replace the one I wrote of at the TT last year. We’ve got the superstock bike from last year and a superbike.

I’ve got a good stable of bikes and we never cut corners. Our R6 last year was fastest through the speed traps. I did 121mph on the 600 from a standing start.

My bike went to the left and just kept turning when I crashed at the TT last year.
It was at Glen Duff, doing about 150mph just as you’re hooking top gear. The steering felt restricted, felt like I had a puncture but my Dad reckons it could have been the steering damper.

I broke my femur, damaged my knee pretty badly and my elbow. I rode again at the Manx GP in the autumn but I was far from fully fit.

I thought it would worry me riding there again but I completely forgot about it until the second lap when I thought, ‘bloody hell,’ as I went through!

We heard someone was running a Moto2 bike at the TT but thought no more about it.
Then Pete Beale – he deals in Yamaha parts and builds engines and knows both my Dad and the guys at FTR - said FTR were interested in doing the TT so we set up a meeting with them.

We had a look at what both sides wanted from the deal and here we are. There’s no big financial payout – but it’s good exposure for both sides.

Paul Phillips is right behind the project and I certainly can’t remember the last time there was a current GP bike at the TT. Dad rode a GP500 Paton two-stroke there in 2007.

We’re going to run a higher spec engine in the FTR than they have to use in Moto2.
We’ll have a supersport-spec engine so with about 140bhp and 134kg, we’ll have around a competitive power-to-weight ratio!

It’s going to be down on horsepower and top speed compared to a superbike, but it’ll stop quicker and turn quicker so I think there’s going to be a lot of places on the course that it will be easer to handle.

I think we can pull off a few surprises.
From data I’ve seen, you’re about 13% of a TT lap on full throttle with a superbike where you’re 60% full throttle on a 600.

It shows you can’t use 200bhp at the TT. Supersport bikes have lapped at 126.

I’m not saying I’ll be doing that but the FTR has the potential to go faster than a heavy supersport machine.

I don’t think we’ll disgrace ourselves.